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  1. #1
    Registered User dianna's Avatar
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    Leptin refeeds for restoring metabolism?

    I posted this to the regular board last night, and no one replied, so I'll try it here. I really need help here ladies, and my doctors aren't doing much more than testing my thyroid, which is still normal

    ******
    I just came across this article http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/sclark60.htm on leptin refeeding, and it is something I would like to look into, but my doctor has no information on it. I was hoping someone here might be able to help.

    I am in an incredibly frustrating situation. I had recovered from overexercising and amenorrhea due to low body fat - I was flying rather blind on my recovery, no professional help (can't afford it), but through my own research managed to get things working again. I have since had a daughter two years ago and my cycles are now very normal. I'm 5'3 and 124 pounds and climbing I can't seem to maintain any muscle mass either. All of the weight gain seems to be in my middle (and no, I'm not pregnant again LOL) I would like to drop some weight, but just this middle weight. It doesn't really seem like calories in - calories out here.

    The problem remaining is my metabolism. I lost all of my pregnancy weight within 3 weeks of having my daughter, but have been slowly gaining ever since. I am ashamed to say that although I am still very active and walk or run 8km/day and weights a couple of times a week, my caloric intake is no more than 1250 (on a splurgey day), and usually 1100. Yes I'm sure, I have checked it with 5 different online calculators and my docor. My portions are very small, and it's all clean and healthy. Protein 35.5%, Carb 45% fat 18% (or so) Low glycemic, carbs almost entirely from vegetables. I believe I wrote it all out in one of my previous posts if you want to go and look it up. I take vitamins, efa's, l-glutamine, etc

    I want to boost my metabolism so I don't have to eat like an anorexic, but every time I try to re-feed with just adding 100 cal over a course of a week, I gain weight and it scares me back into unhealthy habits. I would imagine I should be maintaining my weight at 1600 cal/day with not quite soe much activity. Clearly, my metabolism has adjusted to starvation mode and I desperately want to change that.

    Do you think introducing a leptin re-feed might work? How often should I do it? How much should I eat during a refeed meal? What are good choices of foods?

    ANy other thoughts on restoring a normal metabolism after being hypocaloric for about 2 years (likely longer)?

    Thanks,
    Dianna
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  2. #2
    Registered User emunah's Avatar
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    Honestly, I think the best thing you should do is just gradually increase your cals consistently. That temporary weight gain will subside, but if you keep going back to restricting, you just continue the cycle. Weight gain from just 100 cals is mainly water.

    If you have a hard time with THAT weight gain, the temporary weight gain from a leptin refeed would REALLY spin your head around. What are your macros now? Refeeds are generally done primarily on lower-carbish diets, and done to keep the metabolism from falling too much while DIETING. It would be a very well timed massive carb load/very low fat based on your current stats. Since you shouldn't be DIETING right now, I don't think this is appropriate.
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  3. #3
    Registered User dianna's Avatar
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    I'm not interested in dieting right now. Im interested in raising my metabolism. It's clear that the weight being packed on in my middle is because my body is trying to hang onto whatever it can.

    I tried the 100 cal/day increase over the course of months packed on more than water. Water would have gone away by then. I don't have a problem with temporary water weight gain, it's the weight I gain that IS fat, that lasts longer than 2 months because I dare to increase my cals to 1200 cals/day for over a month.

    From what I understand, with a leptin refeed, you do gain but it's water that does go away in a few days, leaving you with higher leptin levels.

    What is macros?
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  4. #4
    jsfitnesssolutionsllc.com nacersusaf's Avatar
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    diana, I don't think you are seeing the big picture here. You need to raise your calories slowly and consistently to what your maintenance level SHOULD be, and leave them there for a prolonged period of time in order to let your body adjust.

    A leptin refeed will do nothing for you at this point, other than make you incredibly bloated. It will not raise your metabolism.

    Think of it this way; when you eat below maintenance for one day, does your metabolism slow down? No. It takes time and happends gradually. The same goes for getting it back where it needs to be.

    For someone of a healthy weight dieting for a competition a refeed is beneficial, but for someone who has a damaged metabolism, you need a long term solution, not a quick fix.

    I know that the idea of gaining fat in order to lose fat is not only confusing, but scary... the point is that it is necessary.

    Once your body adjusts and stops gaining fat (or holding onto it, whatever the case may be) then you may start to think about dieting (SLOWLY AND SAFELY) to remove the unwanted fat.

    I know this isn't what you want to hear, but it's the truth. You just have to decide which is more important... being healthy in the long run, or not gaining tummy fat now.

    Best of luck.

    Oh, and macros is just short for macronutrients (i.e. carbs, protien and fat)
    for example, the macros I aim for every day is 40% carbs, 40% protein and 20% fat. I hope that make sense!
    Last edited by nacersusaf; 01-23-2007 at 09:34 AM.
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  5. #5
    Registered User emunah's Avatar
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    Leptin refeeds are only necessary when DIETING. Since you are not dieting, there is no reason to use them. Leptin refeeds are completely inappropriate for your goal.

    I know you don't want to hear it, but the ONLY way to fix your metabolism IS to do the slow increase. If you did 100 cals/week and saw a gain, it is impossible that it was all fat. You can't see a significant gain with an additional 700 cals/week.

    The BEST way to do this is to introduce a 10% increase in your calories either weekly or biweekly. Add whatever you're lacking or a balance of protein/fat/carbs. I dont' like ratios because they depend too much on total calories. But you can make sure you hit your minimums: 1 gram protein/lb body weight, .5 grams fat/lb body weight, and introduce carbs as needed to fill the rest.
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  6. #6
    Registered User dianna's Avatar
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    I do believe 124 pounds at 5'3" is a healthy weight.

    How is it that a leptin refeed wouldn't work for me, but it would work for someone else who is hypometabolic and at a weight loss plateau?

    My main concern is being healthy, and as I keep saying, I have no issue with gaining weight in the short term for a faster metabolism in the long term. That's why I'm asking these questions. I'm not looking for a quick fix, clearly leptin refeeding doesn't help short term weight loss. Sure, I'm annoyed with the belly fat and I would love to loose that, but I recognize that's a symptom of the slow metabolism, which is the very thing that I'm trying to fix. Really, I just need to boost my metabolism and the theory of a leptin refeed looked like it might help.

    As I had mentioned, the 100 cal/day addition did not work for me and this wasn't the first time, or the shortest period I had tried it for. There is NO proof that this is the ONLY way to do it.

    I would like to try something different because everything I have tried in the past hasn't worked.

    I stated my "macros" in my original post.
    Last edited by dianna; 01-23-2007 at 10:52 AM.
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  7. #7
    Registered User emunah's Avatar
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    Because its meant as a short-term FIX, not as a method of restoring metabolism. Its meant to be part of a diet program. You don't just increase cals willy-nilly. As I said, people tend to use them on low-carb diets because it is carbohydrates specifically that increase leptin.

    If you really want to do it, give it a whirl. You gave your percentage macros, but as I said this really doesn't say anything. Percentages are meaningless. You have to know the GRAMS of everything you are taking in, because you need to base them on your current weight. Doing some quick math, I can tell you that your fat intake is far too low, your protein intake is at minimum levels, and your carb intake is just enough to skirt ketosis. So your eventual goal should really be to at least double your fat intake and add a bit more protein and carbs.

    There are a number of ways to refeed. Most people set a certain amount of time. the minimum time you need for a refeed is 5 hours, although you'll get better results if you spread it over a day. Basically, just vamp up your carbs. Stay away from fiber if you can, and stick to GLUCOSE, not fructose for your refeed. Bagels, pasta, bread, etc. Sucrose (table sugar) is partially fructose, so try to limit that as well...which limits the amount of cookies/cakes you can have.

    For a fully deplete carb load, a good rule of thumb is 5-6 grams carbs/lb LBM over the course of a day. Stick with your normal protein but low amounts of fat. If you want to do a 5 hour refeed, try aruond 1.5-3 grams/lb LBM. Two days around 2-3 g/lb LBM. I'd start with the 5 hour and see what happens.

    Frequency of refeeds depends on your training and bodyfat%. the leaner you are, the more often you need them. Given that you don't think you're that lean, maybe once every 10-14 days? Its very individual...

    So if you really want to do it, give it a whirl and then try to get to a good caloric intake with more fats. That could be part of your problem...
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  8. #8
    Registered User dianna's Avatar
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    Ah, I see what you are saying about the percentages. A typical day is 100g carb (from 1/3 c oatmeal & low carb veggies - loads of low carb veggies), 109g protein (egg whites, chicken breast, tuna) and about 20g fat (from almonds, flax oil).

    I have read a few articles over the past couple of days regarding leptin boosting metabolism in people who eat typically low carb, low gi diets and those who are generally hypocaloric. That's why I thought it could be help to rev up my metabolism. In a 'typical dieter' who would try this, they would start to see weight loss in a week or so. For me, although I'm not aiming to loose wight (although it would be nice in the long run), I was hoping to just be able to gradually increase my cals as my metabolism speeds up, so I can add the 100 cals/day and have the metabolism to match. I have had my leptin tested in the past as a part of a university study and they found it to be very low.

    Increasing my cals is not and has never been willy-nilly. I tried increasing it with just more of the same thing, then I tried increasing it with more protein and then I tried increasing it with more fat (so as not to send my blood sugar all over the place) and the results were always the same: weight gain in the middle, no matter how slowly I increased my cals, and how long of a period of time it was. That's why I was hoping for something new.

    THanks for the info, the ammounts to aim for are very helpful. I think it's certainly worth a shot at least. If not, it will at least give me a nice break in routine for a day, right ?
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  9. #9
    Registered User emunah's Avatar
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    Weight gain in the middle is typical. After chronic undereating, you will first gain weight viscerally. It WILL re-distribute, but you would have to be patient. Just FYI. Its a hormonal issue.

    Good luck.
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  10. #10
    Registered User dianna's Avatar
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    After my first episode with under eating, I spent two years just upping my cals, just more of everything and slightly more complex carbs. About 200 cal/day (bringing me to 1500 cal/day) and after two years it didn't redistribute at all, I looked like I was 5 months pregnant for two years. Ironically, I became pregnant during that process, so then my middle got HUGE!
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  11. #11
    Glorious Off Season MauiZos's Avatar
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    FYI: Belly fat is caused by Cortisol which is a hormone your body produces when under stress. "Stress" in the evolutionary sense was usually due to increased effort to find food and worrying about survival. The body would store fat near the stomach (in the omentum) for quick access and to protect the vital organs.

    Consider other elements in your life that might be stressing you out. Are you sleeping enough? Do you take time to relax and calm your mind? Perhaps a yoga class will help you reduce your stress.
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  12. #12
    Registered User dianna's Avatar
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    Hey Maui,

    I had always thought it was cortisol, especially since the history of over training as well (and amenorrhea, osteopenia and hair loss. Two of which are now resolved). I have been taking PS, and NOW brand Cortisol Support, L-Glutamine and taking time to de-stress as much as possible. A nasty bout of PPD made this all a necessity. I sleep great - especially since my daughter learned to sleep through the night. I really can't stand yoga, I truly with I could. I keep trying though. I regularly get shiatsu to help the stress too.

    I do believe that the underfeeding is also causing a good deal of the cortisol. Hence my quest to do a refeed, and ultimately boost my metabolism so my body doesn't need to hang on to every spinach leaf and fennel seed for fat :P
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